There I was , trying to live happily ever after with fine days, dull days, little joys, little upsets , nothing great, nothing crappy, some blessings ,some broken dreams, a few Mutual Funds, a few tiramisus, sundry regrets, sundry thrills , collecting experiences and not being a nuisance to anybody ……..And along comes this Hurricane B thundering :
” Its all a Big Fat Maya . Everything is Mithya . You dont exist. Your jagat doesnt exist . You have no right to feel so smug and pleased with yourself , when you are just a bubble in the ” Unknowable Ocean ” …….Whoa !
” Introspect ! Introspect !” That was her ceaseless admonition. And to be fair, she herself was for ever Introspecting about Higher Living, Higher Consciousness, Higher Self and other elevated topics with consummate focus. So much so that on the second day of her visit , she failed to notice the low teapoy in the drawing room and ended up stumbling over it ,spilling strong coffee on the beige rug under it. No amount of belief in the Mithya-ness of Jagat could wash off the stain ,a shadow of which persisted like a Vasana of the very satya accident. And we could not even claim that Kaala (Time) is Non Linear and Delusional, because when Hubby came home, the first thing he noticed with horror was the stain from the recent past on his expensive Anatolian Kilim. Auntie just shrugged it off , with a supreme, withering pity for jivas bound in Ajnana .”Attachment to material things brings Sorrow. “, she intoned, adding ghee to the smouldering havan of his rage. I retired to my room to sit zazen, hoping for satori.
On the first day of her visit, I had made the mistake of enquiring about her son. Her face had clouded over, she became pensive and I was totally alarmed. What ? Did her son land up in Tihar jail with family and friends ? Or , uh-ho, had some unmentionable health condition ? No. The son had become a well known Angel Investor in The Silicon Valley, with an amazing family of well placed Ivy League scholars . ” Materialstic ! ” scowled Auntie, ” such avarice to collect and find happiness in transient things like career achievements and fat salaries. Did you knowBandhanam means both attachment and imprisonment ? ” I tried to get in sideways with my opinion that establishing one’s life on solid ground, so as not to be a burden on others is actually not selfishness but selflessness. Besides, a capitalist creates employment opportunities that fill many hungry bellies, doesn’t that count as a punya point ? Auntie opined that I should quit indulging in Ku-Tharkam and develop “Seriousness “, and then broke into another verbal rash of Sat Chit ghit pit.
Auntie is one of those who take themselves very seriously. ” Serious ” is her only expression as far as I have seen. Long face, sallow cheeks , droopy eyes, lined forehead, gaunt physique, cadaverous demeanour. Had Jiddu Krishnamurthy worn a polycot saree and spoken Nellai tamil in Ila Arun’s voice, that would have been her. Though she makes the most delicious veppampoo rasam in the world, she treats the pleasure of eating like a minor sin and all other pleasures, small and big, of everyday living as major mirages to be resisted. That Serious ! How the heck is one to enjoy eating that rasam ( with potato roast too ! ) in such company ?
I remember the words of the Christian mystic, Thomas Merton , ” There is an erroneous idea that to a saintly person , any form of spontaneity or enjoyment should seem sinful gratification of a fallen nature. Saintly life is viewed as a perpetual duel with guilt such that a person cannot even drink a glass of cold water without making an act of contrition for slaking his thirst as if that were a mortal sin !” Obviously, Auntie does not endorse Merton .